10 Tips For Beginners to Boost Your Practice
“He who says he can, and he who says he can’t are both correct”
Tip 1. Buy A Sticky Mat
A sticky mat is the best tool for a beginner who may have balancing problems, the sticky mat will ease the wobble and help you to avoid problems such as muscle sprains and cramps.
Tip 2. Comfortable Clothing
The basic kit consists of stretchy pants or leggings and a top. You need to make sure your clothes are comfortable and allow for free movement.
Tip 3. Stay Hydrated
Water is key when you start any physical activity, so make sure you drink at least 1,5 litres per day. Take a bottle of water to ever yoga session.
Tip 4. Write Down Notes
Names of poses, practices and other relevant terms are often said in Sanskrit. In order to keep up and not get lost, it will help you to memorise the terms.
Tip 5. The Spiritual Part
Yoga is more than just physical exercise, so get to know more about spiritual awareness and mindfulness as you go.
Tip 6. Meditate
Mediation and pranayama (yogic breathing) are two essential practice that complement yoga. They will improve your physical and mental health, and make yoga a much more meaningful experience for you.
Tip 7. Read Books On Yoga
Complement what you hear from your yoga instructor with books and videos that will expand your knowledge. Yoga is a complex discipline and needs a many-sided approach.
Tip 8. Make Practice Frequent
Little and often is more effective than occasional long sessions of yoga. Even 15 minutes a day of a few well-chosen poses can have a very positive effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Tip 9. Modify Postures For Your Body
The perfect pose we may see on social media or see a teacher demonstrate, may be a long way away from what our own body can currently achieve. Bringing attention to the principle of the inner stretch or direction of energy that the pose is aiming to evoke in us.
Tip 10. Keep Your Spirits Up
If something is not working out, retry it later and go back to things you liked and that made you feel like you are making progress. Manage your motivation wisely, and don’t listen to anybody but yourself.
What is Yoga?
“You are in a state of yoga when you can still the mind into the presence”
Sri Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali around the second century BCE. Patanjali describes yoga as ‘Chitta vritti nirodha’, which roughly translates to “you are in a state of yoga when you can still the mind into presence”.
Yoga in western society often misrepresents the physical practice, known as ‘yogasana’, as yoga itself. Jnana yoga (studying spiritual texts as yoga), Bhakti yoga (devotion as yoga), and Karma yoga (community action as yoga) are more ancient forms of yoga with little or no physical posturing. Classical yoga, however, is a holistic practice comprising the eight limbs - the physical postures being the element of finding peace in oneself.
This is the path of the heart, it is pure love and devotion. By faithfully and devotedly loving all beings and following the eternal creator, you can reach enlightenment via this path.
This is the path of the intellect. It is the way of knowledge and wisdom. Studying ancient scriptures and keenly studying yourself through the practices of self - contemplation and meditation are said to lead you to enlightenment via this path.
This is the path of work. It is all about selfless service and action. To follow this path, you must devote yourself to you dharma (your ultimate purpose in the world) and unwaveringly fulfill this purpose.
The ‘yoga sutras’ were also written between 400 BC and 200 BC by Patanjali. It was the first time in the history of yoga that the knowledge of this practice was compiled and organised in a comprehensive system. In the yoga sutras, yoga was described as an eight-fold path to reach enlightenment. This path became known as the Raja Marga (Royal Path), the path of pure meditation and introspection.
Many centuries after The Yoga Sutras, there was a group of yogis who lived in the forests that developed different ways to quiet the mind and realise the divine.
Tantra is about balancing our energies: Male and female, hot and cold, internal and external.
Tantra negated the long-held belied in yogic philosophy that the body was an obstacle to spiritual life, being “bad”, “dirty” and “evil”. Tantric yogis believed that our bodies were the supreme, sacred, and ultimate vessels to enlightenment and therefore should be cherished just as highly as god.
The idea of “energy bodies” (such as chakras) arose from Tantra.
Because of Tantra’s emphasis on the body being a holy vessel, the art of caring for the body arose. The tantric yogas were having a hard time trying to meditate more than 10 hours a day, so they had to find a solution.
They began to observe the movements of animals and nature. And they began to imitate them: stretching their backs like a cat or dog, standing like a tree, and so on.
Hatha yoga is the practise of physical yoga. And this is definitely the closest branch to what most of us practice in our modern world.